I recently blogged about some mental health issues that I have been struggling with, having been diagnosed with a mild form of an anxiety disorder. I have struggled with Post Partum Depression, and Post Partum Anxiety in the past, after the birth of Big Girl, so it’s not all new, to me, but for those people around me who don’t know, or didn’t know, what was going on inside my head, it was new, or at least a surprise.
I have had people say to me “but you don’t seem unwell” or “you seem so happy, chatty, and confident” or “you work with people all day, and are so outgoing, you CAN’T have anxiety!” and unfortunately, the usual “it’s all in your head, you need to get over it” which sadly, does seem to still be a prevailing thing, with people who truly have no idea what it is like to struggle with any kind of mental health issue, and fail to see that it’s not a choice, nor can we just “snap out of it”.
I am not going to be continually blogging about my anxiety issues, or the treatment I am having, well, not here on this blog, at least. I will be writing about it, on my other blog, which you can visit if you want to read more on my journey. If you would like the link to that, please let me know.
But I wanted to write a little about what goes on inside my head, and to share a bit, to help things to be more understood.
That’s Mr Worry, in the picture at the top. He worries a lot. It rules his life.
I know how he feels, and sometimes, the things inside my head, that cause me worry, and anxiety, can become so big, that they cause me to react, and my anxiety then takes over. It’s horribly hard to explain, and I have never really talked properly, to anyone, about how I feel, and what makes me worry, and the things that freak me out. I have always kept it quiet and battled on. It can make life very challenging, and I can be hard to understand and live with, when I am struggling. If you know me well enough, you can see it, but if you don’t, I probably just seem tired, a bit tetchy, or just brusque, and impatient. You can’t see what’s going on, in the tornado that is my mind, sometimes.
I don’t want to be this way, and I am determined that I am not going to be broken by it, nor do I want my children to pick up on it, or pass on my issues to them.
So, letting someone inside my head, talking about how I feel has been interesting. It’s almost been a relief, and a release. The therapist I am seeing, is so nice, and seems so understanding (of course, I know, it’s her job to be that) and seriously, to spill the contents of my rather tired, slightly frazzled mind, to someone who doesn’t judge, actually understands and comes back at me with ways to handle the things that make me anxious is actually doing me the power of good. Don’t get me wrong. It’s not just a sit and babble session. She asks me very probing questions, she makes me think, she challenges me, she gives me tasks to do for the next session, and things to think about and work on. It’s not a picnic. I cry my heart out, at every session, and it hurts to talk about certain areas of my life, and how I have reacted to certain things, and how difficult I have been to be around, for some of my friends and family.
I come away feeling like I have been in an emotional tumble dryer, but every time, I come out less creased and crinkled, and I am starting to feel like I can handle my own mind and thoughts a bit better. She also has made me feel better about myself and that it’s ok to feel the way I do about certain situations and relationships, that challenge me, and trigger or worsen my anxiety, and that it’s not my fault that they are what they are, and that it’s not my job to be trying to fix them, at great emotional expense to myself. She has even given me permission to start saying no, and to put down boundaries, to protect myself, and to give myself space, which is something I am never very good at, or go about entirely the wrong way. I hate offending people. I am a people pleaser. I always want to make everyone around me happy, I want everyone to like me, to be pleased with me, and to approve of me. I know, in reality, that this is not always possible, but sometimes, I will still keep trying. This is usually at great expense to my own emotional well being. I need to learn to protect myself more, and also teach my children so they are stronger at this, and don’t end up with the same issues as me. I cannot make everyone happy, and it’s a relief to know that it’s ok to say no, sometimes, and that even if the person being told no, doesn’t like it, that I have to stand strong, and remind myself that it’s the right thing. I can see emotional manipulation coming a mile off, and am very good at trying to protect other people from it, yet I fail, when it comes to looking out for myself. I am learning.
Inside my head, is a very interesting place, and I am slowly becoming less scared of it’s contents. I am not mad, or broken, or mental. I am not paranoid, or over emotional. The thoughts and feelings can stress me out, and make me emotional, and angry, scared and worried, but these are things I can learn to handle, better, and to cope with. It is going to be a long, hard battle, to get my mind back to a place of peace, and to handle life better, but I am feeling so much better, after just three sessions, that I can do this, no matter how hard it is.